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Dell Vostro V130 review: Dell Vostro V130

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There's no optical drive, which helps to keep the V130 thin (hurrah!) but this means you won't be able to install software from discs or play DVDs (boo!). It's not a dealbreaker, but make sure you can live without a disc hole before making a purchase.

Our laptop had a 500GB hard drive, but a 128GB solid-state drive can be yours if you've got £140 extra to spare. The V130 runs on the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Home Premium, but you can have the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Professional for an extra £35.

One aggravation is that you'll have to pay extra if you want to avoid getting the Starter edition of Office. Microsoft Office 2010 Professional comes bundled with Adobe Acrobat X and will set you back an extra £263, while Office 2010 Home and Business and Acrobat X costs an extra £175. Bear that extra cost in mind if you're buying this laptop for business purposes.

Core blimey

Our review model ran on a dual-core, 1.33GHz Intel Core i5-470UM processor. That chip comes as standard on certain models, although other versions have Core i3 or Celeron U3600 CPUs.

The laptop comes with 2GB of RAM by default. To get the 4GB that our review sample had, you'll have to fork out an additional £60. If you can afford it, we think upgrading the RAM should be top of your list of priorities.

When we ran the PCMark05 benchmark test, the V130 scored an impressive 4,361. That makes us think this machine would be perfectly suited to multitasking, and it played our 1080p video sample extremely smoothly too, giving it multimedia potential. We think this laptop would handle most business software without breaking a sweat. But we did notice that, when running at full tilt, it makes a fair amount of noise. The cooling fan isn't exactly discreet.

The machine's graphics performance is much less impressive, because there's no dedicated graphics card. Instead, this laptop uses integrated Intel graphics, which are a poor substitute. The V130 scored a miserable 1,151 in 3DMark06, so, if you harbour dreams of sneaking off to the supply closet to play Call of Duty, this isn't the laptop for you.

The V130's battery life is only average. When we ran the CPU at a constant 100 per cent in the Battery Eater Classic test, the battery lasted only 1 hour and 18 minutes. You'll get more usage time if you exploit the laptop's resources more responsibly, but you still won't get a massive amount of time away from the mains, which is disappointing in a machine that's otherwise very portable.

Conclusion

The Dell Vostro V130 doesn't look very exciting but, if you're looking for a computer that offers workmanlike performance and won't break the bank, it's a decent bet. It's a shame about its average battery life, though.

In terms of alternatives, check out the nifty 13.3-inch Samsung Q330, which is similarly priced. If you've got some extra moolah, take a look at the excellent 14-inch Samsung Q430 before rushing out to the shops.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

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